What’s it all about?
Driving home the message that if everyone warns you away from a lonely house in the middle of a marsh you should probably heed their advice. That, and if you hear creepy sounds from a deserted attic room DO NOT investigate!
Story-wise it’s the tale of Arthur Kipps, a young solicitor sent to Eel Marsh House to wind up the affairs of its former resident. Of course, this is not just any house, it harbours a rather unhappy spirit intent on wreaking a horrible revenge.
Before the mildly well-known Daniel Radcliffe played Kipps on the big screen, a young, pre-Shakespeare In Love Joseph Fiennes played him on stage at the Fortune Theatre.
Current star Antony Eden – no, not the dead Prime Minister, though that would be scary – saw The Woman In Black when he was just 14. He wrote to director Robin Herford then to ask permission to stage it at his school. Permission granted and he was heading for his opening night. Two decades later, he’s playing the part in the West End. Spooky.
Olivier Awards history
Frighteningly the darkly clad woman and her more animated companions have yet to make it into the Audience Award shortlist.
“As an audience member it’s one of my favourite plays. What I love about it and what I loved about it as a teenager is it’s like a love letter to theatre. It’s all that theatre’s brilliant at; engaging empathy and audience’s imagination. It does it so brilliantly and is such a well-crafted play from that point of view. That’s why it’s been running for 26 years, because it works to theatre’s strengths. It’s very simple but extremely powerful and magical through very simple theatre tricks. It’s a lovely show.” The Woman In Black’s Antony Eden.
We’ve seen strong-willed, unshakeable adults shudder with fear and weep like toddlers – in a good way, obvs – while under the theatrical spell of The Woman In Black. What two performers achieve, ably assisted by a handful of props and a clever backstage crew, is remarkable, hugely entertaining and exquisitely chilling. To be honest, we’re too scared not to vote for The Woman In Black.